Protesters Bombard Authorities with Calls, Letters Demanding Maile Metalwala Be Reunited with Her Dad
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 1, 2011
CONTACT: Glenn Sacks, MA
(617) 542-9300, ext 2
Protesters Bombard WA DSHS with Calls, Letters Demanding that Solomon Metalwala Be Allowed to Raise His Daughter Maile
The Washington Department of Social and Health Services and the King County Superior Court are being bombarded with calls and letters demanding that they reunite Solomon Metalwala with his daughter Maile, from whom he has been unjustly kept for almost a year. The protest is led by the national family court reform organization Fathers and Families.
Four-year-old Maile was shoved into the foster care system on November 6, after the mysterious disappearance of her two-year-old brother Sky. Currently everyone’s focus is on finding Sky, as it should be. Yet it is also important that Maile be reunited with the father she loves and needs as soon as possible.
When a mother and father are divorced or separated, and a child welfare agency removes the children from the mother’s home for abuse or neglect, an offer of placement to the father, barring unfitness, should be automatic. Yet according to a study by the Urban Institute, when fathers inform child welfare officials that they would like their children to live with them, the agencies seek to place the children with their fathers in only 15% of cases. And many fathers whose identity and location were known by the child welfare agencies from the opening of the case are never even contacted.
Fathers and Families Executive Director Glenn Sacks, MA explains:
“Solomon is a victim of two common problems. First, Family Law Commissioner Jacqueline Jeske, a former domestic violence prosecutor, approved a restraining order against Solomon. This was done despite the fact that his accuser, estranged wife Julia Biryukova, had previously made false abuse charges, and Child Protective Services had concluded that these new abuse charges were also false. Biryukova, having lied to police about the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her son Sky, is a thoroughly discredited accuser. “Second, DSHS has kept Maile from Solomon partly because of child welfare agencies’ institutional anti-father bias.
“Through all the coverage of this highly-publicized case, the fact that this father and daughter have been separated without cause has slipped under the radar. Citizens are quick to decry government interference in people’s lives, yet few apply it to what happens in child welfare cases and family court. But if denying a fit, loving parent the right to raise his own child isn’t a governmental abuse, what is?” Fathers and Families improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. www.FathersandFamilies.org.